According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, August 25, 2014

Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off" & "Leaving Regrets Behind"

Sometimes "ya gotta shake it off" and be in tune with your inner person.
Being true to yourself is better than being fake. And wasting time in stuff
that is rippin' away your life is totally stupid. Taylor Swift's parody of the
Music Industry and of a society (or social ethos) telling itself what is, and
isn't, important makes her again, one of those clear-sighted entertainment
voices that can clearly see through the lies of the world and man.

                                                                                                                                   - R.E. Slater, August 25, 2014

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Published on Aug 18, 2014
Taylor’s upcoming new release 1989 “Shake It Off” now as an instant grat!
Music video by Taylor Swift performing Shake It Off. (C) 2014 Big Machine Records, LLC.

VIDEOS - Dance Break: Watch Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off' In Her New Video
by Blaire Bercy

Well there is a new contender for best broken-hearted anthem this year, ‘Shake It Off’. The song is all all about letting go and dancing to shake off the issues. Watch as Taylor tries every style of dance she can think of to get over everyone and everything. (Yes TayTay just said, “hella good hair” …I’ll let that sink in.)

Florence and the Machine

Anne Frank, a Jewish girl trapped in Nazi Germany

Marilyn Monroe, Poetry in Tragedy

amazon link
"fresh challenges to today's emerging church
messages of guidance and encouragement..."

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On '1989,' Taylor Swift Explores the Limits of Her Identity

Taylor Swift is an example of why our culture loves authenticity...
and what we still don't get about it.

I was recently chatting with a friend (who we’ll call Stephanie) about a mutual acquaintance I couldn’t quite figure out. This acquaintance seemed like an honest, forthright and genuine person, but I could never quite shake the sense that he was also an opportunist—on the look out for new friends who could further his career. I was hoping Stephanie, who’d known him longer than me, could answer the question: Was this guy the real deal, or was he a shrewd social climber?

Her answer surprised me: “I think he’s both.”

The acquaintance in question was not Taylor Swift, but it’s still a good description for her, whose new album 1989 comes out Monday. A brief Google search suggests the most frequent adjectives used for Swift center around approachability. She’s real. She’s genuine. Her fans talk about her like she's a childhood friend. In a world of pop stars who seem about as authentic as an egg sandwich from McDonald’s, Taylor Swift represents something fresh.

But then, let’s not ignore the obvious. Taylor Swift is the biggest pop star in the entire world. This isn’t personal opinion—it’s plainly true. Such status isn’t attained without caution and precision, but Swift has mastered the neat trick of culling her public persona from her actual personality instead of conjuring it from scrap. It’s not fake, per se, but it is pure marketing, and it’s been a wild success.

In that sense, it’s hard to shake the sense that Swift’s authenticity is a calculated affair—moments of soul-bearing honesty, carefully constructed for maximum impact. “Adorkable” is quickly becoming to this decade what “manic pixie dream girl” was to the aughts, and though Zooey Deschanel may have made the trope famous, Swift perfected it. She pitches herself as her fans’ best friend, a delightfully awkward newcomer and an unlucky-in-love ingenue, all while being a global superstar. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, and it’s one Swift maneuvers deftly.

On 1989, the tension feels more apparent than usual, if only because Swift has shaken off whatever vestiges of country music were lingering after Red. Even though Swift was in the country world, she was never truly of it. The genre served Swift’s confessional style well, but no country artist ever seemed so primed for crossover. 1989 is a pure pop album—replete with the '80s synths Lorde and Lana Del Rey brought back into vogue—which makes her heartfelt moments stand out all the more. As a pop album, it's successful. At her best, Swift is a terrific songwriter, and on songs like "How You Get the Girl" and "This Love," she showcases a truly unique talent.

“Shake It Off” you’ve already heard, and you may have also heard “Out of the Woods.” Of the two, “Out of the Woods”—with its cloudy, muted vocals and generally somber sentiment—is more indicative of the album as a whole. This may be a move to pop, but it’s a deft one—slyly substituting wide-eyed earnestness for the bubblegum melodies and hip-hop influences that fuel her peers. In this way, Swift continues to stand out from the pack, the goofy nerd who doesn’t quite get it, but is too full of charm and goodwill not to love.

Swift continues to stand out from the pack, playing the part of a goofy nerd who doesn’t quite get it, but is too full of charm and goodwill to hate.

Take “Shake It Off.” When she sings about her critics—how they accuse her of being a dumb blonde with too many dates—she’s admirably turning the tables on her many haters. It’s a great pop song and a valiant message, but it’s clearly designed to solidify her brand as the consummate outsider. She’s airing out her dirty laundry, but only in its most likeable light.

If it’s an act, it’s one Swift has worked hard to keep up. By moving from Nashville to New York City, she continues to be able to act surprised and delighted by the world around her, just a newcomer to the big city with a guitar on her back, a head full of dreams and a weary but upright heart. Is it fake? Well, perhaps not—who hasn’t felt small in the big city? But just how true it is appears to be an open question.

In an age where “authenticity” continues to be the most prized of all virtues—both in the Church and the charts—you get the sense it’s a trait we haven’t fully figured out yet. We offer our authenticity out piecemeal—offering people genuine glimpses of ourselves, but only very cautiously, and generally with our perceived best interests in mind. If art reflects culture, then Taylor Swift serves as sort of goddess of authenticity—both in how we’ve gotten it right and where we still fail to grasp its true power. Because whatever value being genuine might have when it’s self-serving, its true beauty only shows when we’re revealing the things about ourselves that won’t advance our careers.

Jimmy Kimmel: Taylor Swift Performs “Shake It Off”

Taylor Swift Performs “Out of the Woods”

Taylor Swift performing Out of the Woods, NYC | Jimmy Kimmel Live

Taylor Swift performing Out of the Woods, NYC | Jimmy Kimmel Live

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